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LCHS GOLF TEAM STATE TOURNEY PREVIEW

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Q and A with Head Golf Coach Justin Craft before the team plays in the KHSAA State Golf Tourney on Tuesday at Bowling Green Country Club.
Q – How long have you been involved in the golf program?
Craft – This is my 7th year as head coach and eighth in the program. In those 8 years, we have qualified an individual for the state tournament four times, and a team twice.
Q – How many state tournaments have you been involved with?
Craft – In 7 years of head coaching, this is my fifth state tournament. In my other year as an assistant, Kyle Meredith qualified as an individual as well.
Q – What are some of the ups and downs your team experienced this season?
Craft – The team had many expectations placed upon them coming into this season. We returned three golfers that all placed in the top 12 in the previous region tournament, which essentially solidified our position as the most experienced team heading into the season. Once practice started, I was pleased with the progress from our inexperienced golfers. They all made major strides in ball striking. I had two thoughts: finding our top five golfers was going to be incredibly tough (because all of the kids had the ability to shoot a decent round), and I think we can get to a point where we could shoot very similar rounds to the previous year. If our three region golfers could all shave a few strokes off of their average, and one of the newcomers to the lineup could gain some experience, we would be right there (at last year’s skill level). I think I underestimated the youth within our lineup, and how long it would take us to get to that level. Ultimately, that vision came to fruition.
Q – What was your level of optimism going into the Region tourney?
Craft – Based on the way the region teams had performed in the latter part of the season, I thought there were several teams that had a chance to win it. However, I truly felt that if we performed at our best, we would separate ourselves from the pack a bit. Of course, we had not put together a round all year that constituted “our best,” so that had me a bit nervous. For some reason, the team had a quiet confidence about themselves on region day. Early in the season, the goal of a region championship was established. Nothing less was on the radar for the boys. To place all of your goals on that one day of play can be daunting. However, the boys kept their attitudes positive all day. They knew that on region day, you are going to face some adversity at some point during the round. The important thing is to keep pressing forward because you have no idea what the other boys are doing out there. When a mistake happens, start anew on the next hole or the next shot. Region day is about surviving that adversity. It is a war of attrition in some ways.
Q – What state appearance is this for each golfer?
Cameron Lasley – 2nd
Chandler McLaughlin – 2nd
Taylor Eastridge – 2nd
JT Holcomb – 1st
Keaton Puckett – 1st
Q – What are your expectation for state tourney?
We posted the 15th best score on region day of the state tournament qualifiers. The top 12 teams on day one qualify for the second day. If we can play our best, we can qualify for the second day, and that is our goal. We definitely want some sort of LC representation on day two at the state tournament.

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